Bernard Nguyễn Trọng thưởng, CMC Phụ Trách
12. Do gay people
have a choice?
First of all,
I would like to say that I enjoy your "Teens Puzzled"
section very much (I know this is such a cliche introduction but
it's true). That being said, I would like to share with you
what puzzles me. If you are familiar with current events, I am
sure you have heard of the new law that allows for people of the
same sex to continue their relationship without government prosecution.
In the Dallas Morning News, the headline read: "New Day For
Gay Americans." Of course, being very immature I busted out
laughing. But then I seriously began to think. I know the Church
condemns such acts and I have heard the argument that if everyone
was "gay" civilization would end. But what intrigues
me is, do these people have a choice? Of course they can choose
not to begin such a relationship but they can't choose what
they are attracted too. Let's say, I love the color red. I
was born liking the color red. I didn't choose too, I guess
God made me that way. If the Church condemned the fondness towards
the color red, then I would be a sinner (not to say that I wouldn't
be anyway, we all are.) Even if I try to comply with the doctrines
of the Church, I cannot change what I prefer. So it is with "gay"
people. If they had a choice, no one would chose to be "gay"
so they will go through life being frowned upon by the Church,
beaten by the "gay bashers", and feared by the "homo-phobes".
To sum it up, to sin we must have free will. Having an attraction
towards something, (in this case, having an attraction towards
the same sex) is natural and we cannot control it. So why does
the church condemn homosexuals??? I'm not really confused,
just curious. God bless you. Yours
you for your kind comment. It is good to know that Teens Puzzled
is enjoyable. Yes, I watched the news on TV and it was on the
headlines. Your question is a good and legitimate one. It shows
that you pay attention to what is going on in today's society
and reflect on it. Being homosexual is not a sin but acting out
homosexuality is. Anything is a sin because of its destructive
nature, not because of the Church's arbitrary standard. God
created an order in nature. Gravity is the natural law in that
order. No one can go against that. So when you decide to jump
out the window from the 50th floor to defy the law of gravity,
you will destroy yourself. God also created a moral order. In
that order everyone has to do good and avoid evil to live a happy
life. Good acts turn you into a good person and bring you eternal
happiness. Evil acts turn you into an evil person and bring you
eternal misery. In the moral order, sexuality is a gift from God.
It is an expression of marital love which is a bond between a
man and a woman. Sexuality has its natural purpose is to giving
birth to children. That is the moral order that God makes very
obvious in our biological structure. Marital love by its nature
is life giving. A union between 2 men or 2 women cannot be a marital
love because it is not life-giving. It is purely selfish instead
of self-giving. Sex for homosexual couple is purely for selfish
pleasure. This is abusing God's gift. It destroys the person's
ability to love, therefore destroys the person because a person
was born from love and to love. Does a homosexual have a choice?
Yes, he/she does. The individual may not have a choice over the
sexual orientation, but she/he has a choice not to act that out.
Homosexuality is still a mystery to us. It is a disorder that
some people were born with just like other biological disorders
or other psychological disorders. Some people have different degrees
of homosexuality. Those with lighter degrees could be cured. Homosexual
persons have to learn to live with that disorder in a healthy
way. Acting out homosexuality is unhealthy and self-destructive.
That is why it is a sin. I hope this answers your question. Remember
to pray for those people we were concerned with. God bless.
I feel that Marian Days have lost all meaning to me!
Is it only me to feel this? Am I just too old fashioned?
attended Marian Days this past August in 2003. I am sorry to say
that I feel that it has lost all meaning to me. No longer is it
only a place for prayers and worship, but now it is a "Mardi
Gras" for tens of thousands of Vietnamese-American teenagers
and young adults that come. I know that I am far from perfect,
but I feel that Marian Days is not a place for revealing clothing
and trying to hook up with the opposite sex. There are some, but
few that actually come for the religious activities. I can remember
attending Marian Days twelve years ago when I was six. Back then
it was about going to mass, praying to the Virgin Mary, and becoming
closer to my friends, family, and most important, to God. This
year, I could not take it anymore, all the glamour was too much
for me. Staying in the car became one of my hobbies during the
time there, but going home seemed like the best possible choice.
My family was quite disappointed with me. Having to leave early
wasn't in their plans, however it was something I needed to
do. Is it only me who find this change morally troubling, or are
there others who think the same? Father Bernard, should I openly
accept changes without questioning them, or am I just too old
in recent years have been very complicated as the crowd got really
large. There were a great number of people coming with many different
purposes. Even an adult of good faith went to Marian Days with
many intentions: devotion to Mary, praying, listening to homilies,
talks, meeting distant relative and friends... There is nothing
wrong with that. There were non-Catholics who simply came for
fun, enjoying the crowd... Being exposed to religious environment,
may be some day they would be converted. There were also other
negative elements as you observed. But in focusing on the negative
elements you overlooked all the good signs: masses, confessions,
devotion to the Eucharist, to Mary, talks, procession were packed
with thousands of people. In the old days, 12 years ago, Marian
Days had a more religious atmosphere, but it was beneficial to
only a few people. The present Marian Days may be more noisy but
it brings more people to Jesus and Mary. So we need to have a
balanced view of things. Focusing too much on the negative turn
you into a pessimistic person who easily gives up in facing difficulty.
To be successful in life we must try to make the best out of the
worst situation. On the other hand, you also raised an important
problem. It is a challenge for the CMC priests, brothers and probably
for all who come, to create a more religious atmostphere for the
Marian Days. God bless.
14. I have been
confused by reading
Genesis 19 and Leviticus 18 and 20.
Please help me!
First of all,
I want to say I enjoy reading Marian Teens and I think you've
done a terrific job at answering questions that teenagers everywhere
have. I am not a teenager anymore, but I would like to participate
in the Marian Teens section because I need to know the answers
to the following questions.
I am not sure
if you attended Marian Days and listened to Father Bui Quang Tuan
during the Conference for Youth on Saturday, but I thought it
was very educational. One of the questions that someone
posed was about homosexuality, why it is wrong, and where in the
Holy Bible does it forbid these acts. I remembered Cha Tuan
cited Genesis Chapter 19, and Leviticus Chapter 18 and 20 as proofs
that God does prohibit these "abominable deeds."
I went home after Marian Days and looked up Genesis Chapter 19,
and Leviticus Chapter 18 & 20 to learn more about this. After
reading the recommended chapters, I became confused.
19 told a story of a city called Sodom and of the Lot's family.
Perhaps many people are familiar with this story. God rained down
sulphurous fire upon the city because the men in this city desired
"intimacies" with the two angels (male) God sent, in
other word, they were homosexual. The Lot's family was
saved because they were against homosexuality. They were
instructed to leave the city of Sodom without looking back, but
Lot's wife disobeyed and she was turned into a pillar of salt.
Lot and his two daughters ended up living in a cave, and the two
daughters became pregnant by their father. This is the source
of my confusion. How is it that in Leviticus God forbids
a man to sleep with his daughter, but in Genesis allowed it?
To me, this is a contradiction, but I am not an expert, can you
please explain to me.
The next few
questions I have concern the book of Leviticus. Reading
Chapter 18 and 20 makes me wonder if we still follow everything
that was written in the Bible. Let me give you an example
from Leviticus Chapter 20:18, "If a man lies in sexual intercourse
with a woman during her menstrual period, both of them shall be
cut off from their people, because they have laid bare the flowing
fountain of her blood." Not only Leviticus tells practicing
Catholics what not to do, it also explained what one must do to
clean himself/herself if committed these sins. I wasn't
sure if the Catholic Church enforces these rules on us because
it seems that some of the rituals and ceremonies that the book
said we must do to clean ourselves are not in affect anymore.
If we don't follow all these rituals that were written in
the Holy Bible to clean ourselves then aren't we not following
God's laws? If we can make the decision to stop performing
these rituals written in Leviticus, then why can't we make
decision to allow homosexuality?
Bernard, I'm confident you can provide answers to the many
questions I have. God
you for your great support. You are welcomed even though you are
"ex-teen". The rules in Leviticus were a development
long after the events contained in the book of Genesis. In the
ancient time of the Bible such as the time of Lot, continuing
the blood line of a man was very important, so important that
Lot's daughters decided to take their mother's place in
bearing children for their father. Moral rules developed through
time were just like our understanding of God. As we understand
God more we have to live more in according with his revelation
of the truth. In fact Lot would not have agreed to sleep with
his daughters, so they made him drunk. So the story was told as
a rather bizarre way to preserve a man's blood line.
different degrees to the laws in the Bible. Some were directly
from God like the Ten Commandments; some were specified by human
authority. The rules in Leviticus that you mentioned were strictly
observed by the followers of Judaism but they were specified by
human authority. We don't follow Judaism so we don't observe
those rules which seem to be more of human origin than divine.
acts are evil in themselves because they destroy the person's
ability to love in a life giving way, not just because they were
forbidden in the book of Leviticus. Please refer to the answer
I gave above about homosexuality and you will understand the problem
better. Since they are evil in themselves it's not up to us
or any body to allow them. I would like to commend you for having
such a great interest in the Bible. Keep up the good work. God